VIRTUES OF ZIKR
HADITH - 1
Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallaho anho) narrated that Rasulullah
(SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) has said, "Almighty Allah says,
I treat my slave (man) according to his expectations from Me, and
I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart,
I remember him in My heart; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I
remember him in a better and nobler gathering (i.e. of angels).
If he comes closer to Me by one span, I go towards him a cubit's
length, if he comes towards Me by a cubit's length, I go towards
him an arm's length, and if he walks towards Me, I run unto him."
Note: There are several points elaborated in this Hadith. The first
point is that Allah deals with a man according to his expectations
from Him. One should therefore always be hopeful of the mercy and
benevolence of Almighty Allah and never be despondent of His blessings.
Certainly, we are extremely sinful and justly deserve punishment
on account of our evil deeds, yet in no case should we feel despondent
of the mercy of Allah, as He may perhaps totally forgive us.
"Lo! Allah forgiveth not if a partner
be ascribed unto Him and forgiveth all save that to whom He will."
But Almighty Allah may or may not forgive;
that is why the Ulama say that true belief lies in between hope
(of forgiveness of Allah) and fear (of His wrath). The Holy Prophet
(SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) once visited a young Sahabi, who was
breathing his last, and asked him how he was feeling. He replied,
"O! Messenger of Allah, I am hopeful of the mercy of Allah,
and yet I am afraid of my sins." Thereupon the Holy Prophet
(SALLALLAHU ALAIHI WASALLAM) said "When the heart of a believer
is filled with these two feelings of hope and fear, Almighty Allah
fulfils his hope and saves him from what he is afraid of."
It is mentioned in one Hadith that a believer thinks of his sin,
as if he is sitting under a huge rock that is threatening to fall
on him, while for a transgressor his sin is no more than a fly which
is easily scared off, i.e., he takes his sins very lightly. In short,
one should be appropriately afraid of ones sins, and at the same
time remain hopeful of Allah's mercy.
Hadhrat Mu'aaz (Radhiyallaho anho) died of the plague and, in the
moments of death's agony, he fainted many times. Whenever he regained
consciousness for a moment, he would say, "Oh Allah! Thou knowest
that I love Thee. By Thy Honour and Glory, Thou knowest this very
well." Just before breathing his last, he said, "0 Death,
you are a welcome guest but have come at a time when there is nothing
in the house to eat." Then he said, "0 Allah! Thou knowest
very well that I always feared Thee, and today I die hopeful of
Thy forgiveness. 0 Allah! I enjoyed life, not in digging canals
and planting gardens, but in remaining thirsty in the hot weather,
in undergoing hardships for the sake of Islaam, and in taking part
in the gatherings engaged in zikr under the supervision of the Ulama."
Some Ulama have written that the fulfillment of expectations promised
by Almighty Allah in the aforesaid Hadith is in its most general
sense. It carries assurance not only in respect of forgiveness but
also in respect of prayers, health, wealth and safety. For instance
when a person prays to Allah and sincerely believes that Allah shall
accept his prayer, then his prayer is actually accepted, but if
he has doubt (that his prayer would not be accepted], it is not
accepted. Thus, in another Hadith it is stated that the prayer of
a person is granted so long as he does not say that his prayer is
not granted. The same is true in the case of all blessings relating
to health, prosperity, etc.
According to one Hadith, if a destitute person discloses his hunger
to everybody, he is not relieved of his poverty, but if he shows
submission to Gracious Allah, his condition may soon change for
the better. However, hoping for the better from Almighty Allah is
one thing, and being over-confident of His help and forgiveness
is another thing. Almighty Allah has warned us against such an attitude
in several verses of the Holy Qur'an e.g.
"Let not the deceiver (the Satan) beguile you in regard to
Allah" i.e. one should not be misled by the devil to commit
sins just because Allah is the most Merciful and the Forgiver".
There is another verse,
"Hath he knowledge of the Unseen, or hath he made a pact with
the Beneficent. No, never."
The second point in this Hadith is "Whenever a slave of mine
remembers Me, I am with him." In another Hadith, it is stated,
"So long as one's lips move in My remembrance I remain with
him" i.e. Almighty Allah bestows His special care and mercy
on him during all this time.
The third point is that Almighty Allah mentions him with a favour
to the angels, which signifies the value of zikr. Firstly, this
is because Allah created man such that inherently he is liable to
be good as well as to go astray, as given below in Hadith No. 8.
Submission on his part therefore deserves special appreciation.
Secondly, at the time of Aadam's creation, the Angels (who have
no instinct for doing evil) could not understand the creation of
man and had contended that he would cause blood-shed and trouble
in the world, while they are always there to praise and glorify
Thirdly, man's worship of Allah and submission to His will is more
commendable than that of the Angels, because he does so on account
of his faith in the unseen which, however, is actually seen by the
angels. It is to this fact that Allah refers in the Holy Book: "How
would man not have worshipped if he had actually seen the Paradise
and the Hell." It is for this reason that Almighty Allah praises
the noble deeds of those who worship and glorify Him without seeing
The fourth point contained in the above-mentioned Hadith is that
if a man increases his devotion to Almighty Allah, the increase
in His mercy and kindness upon him is proportionately far greater.
"Getting near" and "running" signify immediate
increase in His blessings and mercy. Thus, it is up to a person
that, if he wants to enjoy more kindness and favours from Almighty
Allah, he should increase his devotion to Him.
The fifth point in the above mentioned Hadith is that the Angels
have been stated to be superior to man, while it is commonly known
that man is the best creation of Allah. One reason for this has
already been explained in the translation (of the Hadith), that
the angels are superior because they are innocent and are unable
to commit sins. Secondly, they are superior because they are better
than the majority of men, including even the majority of believers;
and yet some selected Believers like the Prophets (Alaihimus salaam)
are superior to the angels.
There are other reasons as well, which are however left out in
order to prevent the discourse from getting too long.
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